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Linux 2.6 Kernel Stability Freeze 378

An anonymous reader writes "Linux Creator Linus Torvalds released the 2.6.0-test7 Linux development kernel today and declared a "stability freeze". It has been made quite clear that from this point only "strictly necessary stuff" will be accepted, clearing the way for an official 2.6.0 release sooner than later... possibly at the end of this month."
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Linux 2.6 Kernel Stability Freeze

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  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoeshere.calu m . o rg> on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:03PM (#7167106) Homepage
    Great! That means it's really stable now. I shall upgrade the fw at work to this tomorrow. DNS and mailserver as well.
  • That's good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ixt ( 463433 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:06PM (#7167126)
    2.5 has been largely successful, and a lot of end users were able to compile it. 2.3? That's another story. I remember not being able to compile 2.3 once.

    Good job to all the kernel hackers.
  • by Maskirovka ( 255712 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#7167130)
    The October of cool new toys:
    Sony PSX
    Panther (Mac OS 10.3)
    2.6 kernal
    Half LIfe 2
    Ow! Ouch! Sorry!
  • My Module (Score:5, Funny)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) * on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#7167133) Homepage
    I wrote a speaker bracelet module. Alas, it's been rejected because I turned it in too late. It was really cool though.

    • What did it do?

      They'll probably take it after the kernel is released though.

    • Does linux have a BSOD module in the kernel? It really should have one because Windows has one. How else will windows users know what's wrong with their computer.

      comming soon...Random reboot module...just to keep up the Windows look and feel...

      • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @09:16PM (#7167943) Journal
        But then again, Windows doesn't have a DLL for kernel panic either. I am not sure if its because the Windows kernel is apathetic and simply doesn't care or what.

        On a lighter note, back in the windows 3.1/Lantastic days, I used to mess around with a program called "The Draw" (i ran a bbs, figure it out or google it) which could turn an ANSI screen into a .COM file. I would create a false BSOD that would say something along "Windows has detected a dumbass on the wireless end of the keyboard. Please use a pencil and paper instead" and place this in autoexec.bat, just before a "pause >nul"

        The funny thing is half of them would tell me they have a "blue screen thingy" without reading it, giving me the opportunity to ask them "what does it say?". Its much more fun to hear them actually read it out loud over the phone intercom.
      • Does linux have a BSOD module in the kernel?
        I heard that BSOD was dying...
    • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:56PM (#7167498) Journal
      It's OK. I got my truck candle module to compile against it and I can release a patch.
  • by adeyadey ( 678765 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#7167137) Journal
    ..Microsoft, after the latest virus attack, have declared an instability melt..
  • Reiser 4 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by agrippa_cash ( 590103 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#7167141) Homepage
    So it looks like we'll have to wait a while longer for Reiser4, or were some of the Reiser4 implimentation problems due to the shifting kernel patches? Anyone? Anyone?
    • Re:Reiser 4 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoeshere.calu m . o rg> on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:14PM (#7167190) Homepage
      More importantly, is XFS in there by default? I haven't tried it since about 2.5.59. It's annoying when patches made for vanilla 2.4 don't apply on 2.4 + XFS. If the vanilla kernel came with XFS, those patches would be made against that, and would apply.
    • Re:Reiser 4 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Skeme ( 687563 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @08:25PM (#7167683)
      Good question. It will appear in someone's (I believe AA's) tree in a couple months or weeks. From there it will stabilize and get added to 2.6. Here's the latest status update from Hans:

      The filesystem is getting reasonably stable.
      This weekend we hit a bug in space reservation, which we can't reproduce yet but probably isn't too hard to find by code inspection. There is some thought that the assertion not the space reservation is buggy, in any case we'll release a snapshot after it is fixed.

      Our performance is generally wonderful and getting better.
      It has the following weakpoints:

      * We allocate a "jnode" per unformatted node in the filesystem. The traversing of these jnodes consumes more CPU than performing the memcpy from user space to kernel space when doing large writes. I don't yet really understand on an intuitive level why this is so, which is a reflection on my ignorance as it is consistent with stories I have heard from other implementors of filesystems who found that eliminating per page structures was an important part of optimizing large writes. We will fix this by creating a new structure called an extent-node that will exist on a per extent basis, and this will probably cure the problem. This will greatly simplify parts of our code for reasons I won't go into, and it will also take us 6 weeks to do it. I don't think users should wait for it, and so we will ship without it.

      * Our dbench performance was poor, has improved due to coding changes, and we need to test and analyze again. Perhaps more fixes will be needed, we can't say yet.

      * Our fsync performance is poor. We will pay attention to this next year, frankly, after we have fully implemented the transactions API. At that point we will say something like, if you care about fsync performance you should be using the transactions API and/or sponsoring us to tune for NVRAM, users will say back "but our legacy apps on hardware without NVRAM matter!", and we will grudgingly but effectively tune for this because we care about real users too.;-)

      Nikita recently invented and implemented a clever bit of code that keeps track of the highest node in the tree that spans a directory, and then performs repeat lookups within the same directory starting from there rather than the root. This is a nice answer to those who keep asking me, wouldn't it be faster to have separate trees for each directory? Now I have better answer for them --- nice work Nikita. It also has the nice side effect of reducing spin lock contention on the root node for 4-way SMP.

      I am hoping to move my laptop to SuSE 9.0 running reiser4 sometime this week, and I am hoping we will ask for more outside testers to help us find bugs at that time. While I have mentioned only the performance flaws in this email, our overall performance seems to leave little doubt that the filesystem as-is is far better than V3, and even though it will get much faster with another year or so of tuning, if now we are the fastest available on Linux, we should be shipping now (assuming we find no new bugs in the last round of internal testing).

      Benchmarks can be found at

      As you can see in those benchmarks, in V4 tails IMPROVE performance due to saving IO transfer time. This is a great improvement over V3, and generally speaking V4 stomps all over V3 performance. It also scales better, has plugins, and improves semantics a little bit (big semantic improvements will be in the next major release not V4).
      You'll also notice that we increased the size of the fileset to be more fair to ext3, and we tested some ext3 configurations Andrew Morton suggested testing.

  • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:08PM (#7167144) Homepage

    Linus wrote: In other words, this should calm things down so that by the end of October we can look at the state of 2.6.0 without having a lot of noise from 'not strictly necessary' stuff."

    That is, at the end of October he will "look at the state of 2.6.0". That's quite different from shipping it.

    • Wasn't there a web site with a betting pool for the linux-2.6.0 release date? I know there was one for linux-2.4.0. The web site required that you submit your guess using time_t seconds! :-)

      My guess is linux-2.6.0 will be released December 31, 2003.
  • Who cares. (Score:4, Funny)

    by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:08PM (#7167148) Homepage Journal
    Mac OS is on 10.3, that's like 7.7 better. And no fair skipping like MS does. Windows 95 my ass, more like Windows 3.11b
  • Stability? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:12PM (#7167176)
    When the 2.4 series came out, it was much criticisd for not having anything near the stability of the old 2.2 series (I'd say it haven't catch up yet,but since I use it in a desktop machine 2.2 is not an option)... What can we wait from the brave new world the 2.6 kernel will bring?
    • Re:Stability? (Score:5, Informative)

      by efti ( 568624 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @08:03PM (#7167553)

      I've been using the 2.5 series since 2.5.66 or so. The main reasons I recommend 2.6 are:

      • Greatly improved responsiveness under heavy load -- I no longer notice cpu-intensive tasks like a kernel recompile or the slocate database rebuild cron-job happening in the background. And X isn't even running with higher priority.
      • Built-in ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) -- much improved audio, especially audio recording
      • Improved ACPI power management and CPU frequency scaling (my main machine is a laptop)
      • Software suspend (just like hybernate on Windows), again handy for laptop users, or those who like to sleep without listening to the whine of their super mega cooler CPU fan / vacuum cleaner attachment.
      • Built-in IPSEC support. This is mostly useful for those who need to set up VPN tunnels. I imagine it is more efficient to handle IPSEC inside the TCP/IP stack itself

      These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I haven't used the built-in IPSEC yet, and software suspend still doesn't work properly on my laptop, but it's not far off. 2.6 will be a pretty sweet series.

    • When the 2.4 series came out, it was much criticisd for not having anything near the stability of the old 2.2 series (I'd say it haven't catch up yet,but since I use it in a desktop machine 2.2 is not an option)... What can we wait from the brave new world the 2.6 kernel will bring?

      I would agree on the server side. RH upgraded 7.2 to a 2.4 kernel and yes I gained iptables (even tho ipchains was adequate) but I did lose some stability. I still only have to reboot every 6 months, but its usually due to so
  • by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:20PM (#7167244)
    I've tried 2.6-testX and it doesn't seem to do all that much more for me than 2.4 does. I remember moving from 2.2 to 2.4 and there was a LOT more that I could use, USB and ReiserFS and quite a speedup. 2.6 seems to perform about the same as 2.4 on my boxes though.

    Maybe I'll have to wait until I get a TCQ-enabled drive and see if that makes a difference.
    • What about O(1) switching.
      This should make the desktop smooother.
      • Everyone says it should, but I saw no difference at all.
    • > 2.6 seems to perform about the same as 2.4 on my boxes

      Yes 2.4 and 2.6 are very similar, but 2.6 does have a couple advantages. Asside from the exta .2 you also get increased bragging rights, i.e. you get to laugh at people still using that backward 2.4.22 ;)
    • The two big ones for me are ACPI/APIC and IDE burner support. There are some other lesser features like UML and the new scheduler but most of these have equivalent patches for 2.4. APIC has been a significant problem ever since the > 2.4.18 releases, I pretty much have to boot noapic for now. I'm just waiting for the SuSE 9.0 Pro which I've preordered to get here and then I'm going straight for the 2.6 setup. Hopefully it'll be out of the box ready for 2.6 rather than the hack job (many things stopped wo
  • In pratice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <> on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:29PM (#7167292) Homepage
    I've been using 2.6.0-test4-mm4 daily without problems. No glitches. The 2.6.0 kernel has real improvments in the shape of Alsa being mainstream. Also the I/O schedular + interactivity is much better under load than the 2.4 kernel.

    Of course however I won't be putting 2.6 into production use until at least 2.6.8 or there abouts to make sure there are no nasty surprises in there

  • by Alien Conspiracy ( 43638 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:36PM (#7167345) Homepage
    I'm still on kernel 2.2 with debian/stable. My servers have been running 2 years without a reboot.

    Is there anything really cool in 2.6 to convince me to upgrade?
  • Modular source code? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pjack76 ( 682382 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:40PM (#7167377)
    How difficult is it to only download those kernel modules I actually want to compile? As time goes on and new stuff keeps getting added to the kernel the source just gets out of hand. Someone should set up a little webby clicky thing that's like "make menuconfig" but then assembles a tarball only containing your precise configuration and those modules you've selected. Just a thought.
    • Whoa.... that's friggen cool. Seriously.

      Most of us have big pipes for bandwidth so pulling a 22MB kernel archive isn't that big of a deal. Sure, it takes some time but we can do it and live with a 5-10 minute delay.

      This idea is just waaaay geeky though, and cool. It would have to be a distribution specific type thing though. There's no way I'd expect the kernel maintainers to take on this task -- it's just not their style.

      Debian could, with some work, create a 'kernel-source-2.6.0-skeleton' package t
    • While a neat idea, I think that it would be very hard to implement, and the tradeoff isn't a good one. What tradeoff?

      Well, the patch for -test7 is just over 650k if it's bzipp2ed. While it would save space/time/whatever to only download a i386 version (no PPC code, etc), or a version without all the sound code (I'm making a server, I don't need that...) etc, you run into a problem. Just what are you going to do? Let's say you have 4 architectures, the sound option, an ISDN/amature radio option, some PPP/di

    • by Chops ( 168851 )
      This is an LKML FAQ []. The short answer is, "Yes, it would be cool, but it's much harder than you think. We're busy doing kernel code; you're welcome to do it yourself if you wish. People would thank you profusely."
  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @07:43PM (#7167401) Homepage
    Wait! Wait! Wait! I've got a million lines of SCO code I want to insert!
  • Radeon FB fixed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @08:05PM (#7167563)
    Is the Radeon FrameBuffer Console fixed?

    It's been horribly broken in the 2.6 test kernels I've tried.
  • Injunction? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Roofus ( 15591 )
    So where's the injunction from SCO to stop distribution of this? I mean, they are trying to mitigate their damages aren't they?
    • Just a small clarification; editor must have stripped out couple of missing decorational chars:

      I mean, they are trying to "mitigate" their "damages" aren't they?

      Hope this helps!

  • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @08:25PM (#7167685) Journal

    It's not the same thing without 'make dep && make clean bzImage modules modules_install'

    Now it's just 'make menuconfig && make'

    Linux has gotten soft... time to migrate to BSD. I would if I could get my laptop's touchpad to work. Sigh...

    • make rpm

      I think there's also a make dpkg too.

      This is called Doing Things Properly.
    • by anthonyrcalgary ( 622205 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @02:58AM (#7169652)
      Sadly, BSD is getting soft too. Everything on my OpenBSD system keeps working without me having to get my hands dirty. FreeBSD is worse. Don't even get me started on OS X...

      NetBSD still has promise though. It's practically unusable. It doesn't even have sudo installed by default. If you're in a masochistic mood, try it out.
  • ataraid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thrift24 ( 683443 )
    Does anyone know if ataraid is in the kernel yet, or what exactly they plan on doing with that? In 2.6-test6 there wasn't a trace of ataraid around. This is bad news for anyone wanting to upgrade to 2.6 who use highpoint or promise raids. Wanted to install gentoo w/ 2.6 on the girlfriends computer a couple days ago when i found this out, now she's running a heavily patched 2.4 kernel and ataraid is buggy...It would really suck to not see a working ataraid driver in the 2.6 kernel
    • No ataraid in 2.6 yet. I've worked around the lack of proper drivers with dm (device mapper), which is part of the lvm stuff. I've got a 2 disk raid0 stripe connected to a PDC20276 which I use mostly for backup purposes.

      It's possible to set it up so that you can access it properly, but to boot from it would be a bit tricky. You'd need to use dm-setup from the lvm tools, together with a config file all wrapped up in an initrd image.

      Too much work to bother at this point. Hopefully ataraid makes it in soon.

  • Slackers (Score:4, Funny)

    by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#7168080) Homepage Journal

    [dave@bend ~]# cat /proc/version
    Linux version 2.6.0-test7 ( (gcc version 3.2.2 20030222 (Red Hat Linux 3.2.2-5)) #1 SMP Wed Oct 8 19:09:28 MDT 2003
    [dave@bend ~]# uptime
    19:37:24 up 18 min, 8 users, load average: 0.62, 0.20, 0.13

    So why haven't *YOU* built and booted with 2.6.0-test7 yet?
    • Heh. Here I was ready to make a snarky ass comment about my desktop uptime being somewhere around 60 days, and I realized that about 2 hours ago the power flickered off then on.

      *sigh* Maybe I should go grab one. =)
      • The dev box gets a new kernel whenever Linus decrees that it is time. As for the server:

        [dave@fraud ~]# uptime
        21:08:15 up 81 days, 7:46, 13 users, load average: 0.26, 0.15, 0.10

        Its on a UPS.
  • Who does this Torvalds think he is, claiming that only "strictly necessary stuff" is going into Linux? Hey, if I want to patch it with stuff that makes Linux make coffee, you better believe I'm gonna do it!
  • by PastaAnta ( 513349 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @02:45AM (#7169627)
    Does someone know if packet writing is in?

    In kernelnewbies status list [] it is listed as pre-2.6.0 stuff, and the patch [] has been around for ages. I very much hope we will finally be able to use CD-RW's instead of the antique floppy drive. It is frustrating and somewhat embarrasing Linux still does not support this feature. I assume DVD-RAM/-RW/+RW etc. also depend on this?

    Pretty, pretty, pretty, Please!

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